Over the past few days, there have been a series of events highlighting the current state of the political establishment and society of some eastern European states.
On June 26, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) held a conference dedicated to “strengthening media freedom and pluralism in Ukraine during times of conflict in and around the country”. Ironically, the Ukrainian government banned RT journalist Paula Slier and VGTRK journalist Yevgeny Primakov from attending the conference.
— Paula Slier (@PaulaSlier_RT) 26 June 2018
Comment by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova on the Ukrainian authorities denying entry to journalists from Russia (source):
“On June 26, Ukrainian authorities denied entry into the country to journalists working for Russian media outlets Yevgeny Primakov (VGTRK) and Paula Slier (RT), who went to Kiev to take part in an OSCE conference. The absurdity of the situation stands in stark contrast to the theme of the conference, “Strengthening media freedom and pluralism in Ukraine during times of conflict in and around the country.” The Ukrainian border officials stopped Primakov and Slier at the airport for an interview and subsequently told them officially that they have been banned from entering Ukraine for five years.
We view these restrictive measures as fresh proof of Kiev’s refusal to curtail its repressive policy towards the media, in particular, Russian media, which is aimed at suppressing the freedom of speech in Ukraine. This act of discrimination looks all the more offensive since the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, previously confirmed the open nature of the planned event in a letter to Russian journalists and thanked them for their interest. We consider as unacceptable the OSCE’s organisation of its events without ensuring that they can be attended by all those interested.
It is obvious that the Kiev authorities, who have systematically infringed on the rights of journalists in the absence of international censure, see that they can act with impunity. This policy will further aggravate the problem with the freedom of speech in Ukraine.
We hope that the participants of the aforementioned conference will censure this outrageous infringement on the rights and freedoms of journalists, as Mr Harlem Désir has done. At the same time, we expect the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media and other international organisations concerned to adopt a harder line regarding the Kiev authorities’ policy of curtailing the freedom of speech.”
Meanwhile, in the EU member state, Estonia. On June 22, Estonia unveiled a memorial plaque on the 110th birth anniversary of Waffen-SS Standartenführer Alfons Rebane. The ceremony was held in the very same day when in 1941 Nazi Germany attacked the USSR.
Comment by the Information and Press Department on the unveiling of a memorial plaque to Waffen-SS Colonel Alfons Rebane in Estonia (source):
“We were shocked to read about a ceremony held in Estonia on June 22 to unveil a memorial plaque on the 110th birth anniversary of Waffen-SS Standartenführer (Colonel) Alfons Rebane, who commanded punitive operations against civilians in the Soviet territory occupied by Nazi troops during the Great Patriotic War.
We note the particular cynicism of the organisers of this shameful event, who held it on June 22, the day when the Great Patriotic War began in 1941. It is nothing other than an insult to the memory of millions of people who fell fighting Nazism.
We regret to say that the Estonian authorities, who hastened to dissociate themselves from the unveiling of the plaque, have not found the courage to denounce this latest evidence of the glorification of Nazism in their country.
We consider this policy to be unacceptable and urge the international organisations concerned to convince Tallinn to put an end to this unashamed propaganda of neo-Nazism in Estonia.”
At the same time, Baltic states, Poland and other eastern European states are working to remove monuments to Soviet warriors liberators.
Unfortunately, amid the lack of a joint vector of cultural development, more and more marginal tendencies appear in Europe: from a sectarianism and a wild neo-liberalism to a public propaganda of Nazism.